Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Relationships aren't real

Has anyone found out that your sz loved ones have relationships that are not real? My daughter thought her psychiatrist was the one monitoring her treatment and knew her very well. She actually spoke of the one time she got to meet him at an appointment with her nurse practitioner that she sees every three months for her psychiatric meds. She said he calls her frequently about her meds. I finally got the psychiatrist to call me back and imagine the surprise I got when he said he only comes to the facility once a week as well as other facilities to go over notes and have meetings with the nurse practitioners and that he never met my daughter. He confirmed the diagnosis of disorganized schizophrenia and I asked about his prognosis and he said I needed to talk with her nurse practitioner about that. I asked if a psychiatrist had to diagnose and treat schizophrenia. He said in the state of Tennessee a nurse practitioner trained in psychiatic care is able to diagnose and treat this, but he is the that nurse practitioner’s supervisor. This is a low income facility and all we have available to us. My daughter sent him a message with a list the lawyer gave us about her limitations. I asked if he could help with with SSI. He said she would have to be one of his private patients and that he is not taking new patients. I am so confused, I can’t figure out what is going on. Can anyone shed any light on this?


If you have a good attorney, he or she should be able to navigate the system and know if the diagnosis needs to be made by a MD versus a practitioner. Then again, he probably can sign paperwork because he is overseeing care even though he is not directly treating.
That said, my son had zero relationship with the psychiatrist. He said all the PDOC did was ask questions, enter answers into the computer and increase and/or change meds. He wanted to discuss things with the PDOC and was told that is what your psychologist is for. Now being bright he knew the MD had more training than the PhD, and he wanted to talk to the one who was best trained. So from this he concluded he was not going to be an “experiment” for drug companies and discontinued meds/care. We recently got a request for review of his SSI and they requested records from all treating providers in the past 12 months. We are waiting for an answer as we only had limited records, but he offered to go talk to them–which in my mind probably could answer the question better than records! Best wishes.


In regards to the diagnosis for ssi - at FtF they strongly pushed using a psychiatrist that was strongly experienced with scz. Not all psychiatrists treat the severely mentally ill. At FtF they said such doctors were actually in the minority. The psychiatrist they recommended only worked with severe mental illness. They strongly recommended we use the doctors they recommended.

From what people have shared, the paperwork to Social Security must be done correctly by the psychiatrist to have a hope of success with ssi.

All of the psychiatrists our FtF recommended were private pay. Tennessee might be happy with that situation, but that may be the issue with your ssi. Understanding the limitations of our family members takes experience.

My son’s initial diagnosis and ssi/ssdi came after working for a year with a psychiatrist NAMI’s Family to Family leaders recommended. Yes, we paid cash out of pocket for that doctor. Last year my son found his own psychiatrist for his own purposes. His plan was to convince the new doctor that he didn’t have scz or at least it was so light that he didn’t need meds.

My son was quite successful in this endeavor for months. I worry now about whether or not that doctor realized how sick my son is. That doctor is the only psychiatrist he has seen in the last 12 months -so- that is who Social Security looks to for his current re-evaluation. We shall see. I faxed histories, current data and event timelines, we shall see.

Also, my son does have relationship that aren’t real.


Like you, I am thinking this will do the trick if my son is somehow denied under re-evaluation. I think he will go and talk with them - usually something everyone wants to avoid with his weapons history. He has never used his weapons, but I have made sure everyone knows that he carries weapons to “protect” himself. I kept taking his knives, he got better at hiding them.

I wonder how long we will have to wait to hear an answer on the re-evalutions?

1 Like

my son has had many relationships that were in his head. these included very famous people he’s seen on tv as well as people in our town. he never had an issue with his psychatrist, but he actually does go to see him directly. that might be why. i’ve learned to wait until he is out of a psychotic phase to show him that he does not actually know the people he claimed to be very good friends with. he gets agitated if i mention anything about his relationships with people during psychosis, but is more reasonable once that breaks. hang in there. in the case of the psychatrist, is she still under the impression that they are friends? if so, it may do her well to get in contact with him to hear that he is not a patient of hers.

1 Like

I think it’s common for people with sz to have imaginary relationships. I’ve peeked over into the other messageboard for people diagnosed with sz to try to understand their perspective a little better. It seems like while there are scary and negative voices that should be avoided, there can also be friendly ones, benign ones, and even affectionate ones. Many of the people on the other board seem to be medicated and have good insight. Some seem to try to ignore All voices so they don’t fall into the trap of getting too preoccupied with them.

I don’t think imaginary relationships like friends or a bf/gf are inherently ‘bad’ unless they start putting our loved ones’ safety or the safety of others at risk. At least, it seems to be one of the more tolerable symptoms. Although I can see how it’d make it difficult to differentiate what’s true or not when their delusions involve real people.

There are lots of movies and TV shows that often have a twist where someone’s happy memories or lives are simulations. It makes me think, if all the good things in my life such as friendships or my marriage were simulated or fake, would I want to know that it’s not true and that I actually live in a harsher reality? Personally, I don’t think I would want to give up a ‘happier world’ if it’s not harming anyone. I’m sure the answer is different for everyone, but I thought it might help to see things from another perspective. We might see their delusions as sad from the outside looking in, but to them their world is very real including the happiness and love that sometimes comes with it.

I think it’s natural to want our loved ones to “wake up” one day and be able to have lives we consider full and meaningful. We want them to feel real love and gain acceptance from the real world. But if that’s not quite possible, then ‘happy’ delusions are a preferable emotion over paranoia and fear IMO.

I once read a comment from someone with sz wondering why people think they’re “better” once they’ve gained insight. It doesn’t necessarily change the difficulties they face, many still sometimes feel irrational fear or hear voices. Having insight really only lets them recognize they think differently than most people. In some ways, knowing that can be more saddening.

 My wife has had at least two relationships that weren't real. The first one that I know of was a casual acquaintance that lived above us in a prior apartment 5 years before we bought our house. She became infatuated with him and even though she hadn't seen him since we moved from there she was convinced that he lived in a house in our neighborhood currently and began to go and call out his name in front of the house. She stopped that after too many complaints. 
 Currently she has a new name that she calls out at times. I came home early from work one night and she was talking out loud in our front yard saying that they were engaged. A few weeks ago I came home after grocery shopping after work and could hear her inside our house while I was standing on the front porch. I walked around the house to the window by the computer and she was talking back to the voices thinking that the guy was cheating on her.
 She also thinks I have cheated on her with 2 different people. She also thoght that I was making passes at the ER nurses when she had unstoppable nose bleeds 3 times before she was prescribed bloop pressure meds. 
 She is undiagnosed and unmedicated for her MI though.
1 Like